Foreword Introduction Chapter One: the Great Flood In the intense heat of the northern Kalahari, a heard of elephants trek towards a life saving goal while prides of lions and marooned hippos fight to survive around the last remaining waterholes. Their fortunes change dramatically with the annual flooding of Botswana's Okavango Delta, turning 6,000 square miles of desert into a maze of lagoons, islands, and swamps. As millions of animals are drawn to the oasis, including great herds of near starving elephants, the lions await. Chapter Two: the Great Melt As winter finally passes and the sun climbs over the Arctic, the 4 million square mile ice sheet rapidly begins to melt, revealing an archipelago of islands, channels, and seas. For the masters of the ice, the polar bears, this is a moment of jeopardy, but for others like the arctic fox, beluga whales, thousands of lemmings and immense flocks of birds this brief summer transforms the Arctic into the richest place on earth. Chapter Three: the Great Feast The arrival of spring sunshine triggers and explosion of life in Alaska's coastal waters so great that it eclipses even the Amazon rainforest. The feast draws in an amazing cast of characters, including the humpback whales and their newborn calves who migrate all the way from Hawaii to spend the summer feeding in these rich waters, and resident sea lions who are also in a race against time to make the most of the good times before the harsh Alaskan winter closes in. Can the whales and sea lions catch enough fish - and avoid the predatory killer whales - to see them through? Chapter Four: the Great Forest The temperate rainforest of British Columbia, Canada, harbours more life than any other forest in the world. Cloaked by the planet's tallest trees, the last big carnivores of North America roam free - the grizzly bear and the forest wolf. Yet their survival depends entirely on one great event that runs up the forest rivers just once a year. As the rivers teem with spawning salmon the bears and wolves are drawn together and a deadly conflict unfolds. Chapter Five: the Great Plain The parched grassland of East Africa's famous Serengeti plain is the arena for bitter rivalries between warring cheetahs, lions, and hyenas as the struggle over meagre pickings. But with the arrival of the annual rains the plains momentarily flush green with fresh grass drawing in the greatest concentration of large animals on the planet. Over two million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle have undergone an epic journey crossing crocodile infested rivers to graze here - but how will they survive the arena of carnivores? Chapter Six: the Great Tide As winter arrives along South Africa's east coast, the inshore waters cool, drawing billions of sardines northwards from the Cape to feed on the plankton-rich soup. The Sardine Run is the greatest marine spectacle on the planet, attracting an awe inspiring cast of ocean predators. Mega pods of common dolphins, battalions of sharks and greedy brydes whales feast on the sardines as gannets rain down from above. For African Penguins and Bottlenose Dolphins this movement of sardines is the defining moment of their lives. Both are living on a knife edge, and only the run of sardines can help them.